Internet Explorer abandoned once and for all

Internet Explorer
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The phased termination of defunct web browser Internet Explorer has officially come to a close, Microsoft has confirmed.

First published in August 2020, the Internet Explorer retirement roadmap consisted of a number of stages, with support for the browser slowly falling away from a wider and wider range of Microsoft services.

As of this week, Microsoft has withdrawn Internet Explorer support for all Microsoft 365 apps, bringing the sunsetting process to a close. While some Microsoft 365 apps may still function via the browser, users should expect a severely diminished experience.

“Support is now unavailable for Microsoft 365 apps and services on IE11,” the updated roadmap states. “Additionally, you should expect no new features when accessing Microsoft 365 apps and services on IE11 and that the daily usage experience for users could get progressively worse over time until the apps and services are disconnected.”

Goodbye, Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer has long been the butt of jokes in the technology community, ridiculed for its speed issues and clunky user interface. The move to retire the browser, which first hit the scene in 1995, can be seen as an admission of its irrelevance to modern users.

The web browser’s decline is writ large in its market share, which tumbled from a peak of circa 95% to just a handful of percentage points as newer, more feature-rich alternatives emerged.

In a bid to claw back lost ground, Microsoft has now placed all its eggs in the Edge basket. The company rebooted the browser in January 2020 and has since sunk considerable resources into building out new functionality to help Edge stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Firefox and Chrome.

“Customers have been using IE 11 since 2013 when the online environment was much less sophisticated than the landscape today. Since then, open web standards and newer browsers - like the new Microsoft Edge - have enabled better, more innovative online experiences,” wrote Microsoft when the IE roadmap was announced.

“We believe that Microsoft 365 subscribers, in both consumer and commercial contexts, will be well served with this change through faster and more responsible web access to greater sets of features in everyday toolsets like Outlook, Teams, SharePoint and more.”

However, for all its faults and limitations, Internet Explorer will be remembered fondly by many, like this writer, whose earliest experiences on the web it helped shape. Rest in peace, old friend.

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.